08.11.2018. Emporio Sirenuse
What is it about Italy in the 1950s and 1960s? How did it manage to be quite so stylish? What lay behind the explosion of la dolce vita?
Two reasons stand out from the pack. One: a real hunger for beauty, glamour, self-expression and American cocktails as a reaction against the hardship and isolationism of the war years, and the conformity imposed by the regime. The other: a vibrant art and design scene, one that had broken out of the confines of the academy and the technical school to invade all walks of life.
Many talented artists divided their time between personal gallery projects and commercial work, among them Alessandro Martelli, a Roman artist who had been close to the Futurist movement in his youth, and Bramante Buffoni, an artist from the Abruzzi region who emigrated to Brazil in his forties, but continued to work long-distance for the ad campaigns of design-friendly companies Pirelli and Olivetti.
Two delightful posters of Amalfi Coast scenes designed by Martelli and Buffoni for Italian national tourist board ENIT in the 1950s are among the inspirations behind designer Viola Parrocchetti’s textile patterns for Le Sirenuse Positano’s seductive new 2019 Resortwear Collection. Parrocchetti also turned to an earlier, equally exuberant period of Italian creativity, the late Baroque, for a motif inspired by the ceramic tiles and shell grottos found in aristocratic Neapolitan townhouses and Amalfi Coast villas of the period.
Le Sirenuse Postiano’s creative director, Carla Sersale, is fascinated by what she calls her niece Viola’s “magic touch” in transforming ideas and images into printed cotton and silk fabrics. It’s a very modern form of alchemy that begins with travel inspirations and digital research, carries through into watercolour sketches and computer mock-ups, and ends when the finished fabric is sent back to Italy from a silkscreen printing works in Mumbai, India.
The result of this long but rewarding process is a collection of resortwear that evokes a time of flared pants, long, generous gowns with tight waist belts and tiny scarves that could be transformed into crop tops to show off a perfectly tanned midriff. It was an era of flowing caftans embellished with natural motifs, flowers, shells and garlands, that are deeply rooted in the Mediterranean landscape and psyche. It was effortlessly chic. It was dry Martinis on Le Sirenuse’s terrace as the sun set over the azure sea.
Le Sirenuse Positano's 2019 Resortwear collection is available now at the Emporio Sirenuse online store.